NEWS

Paris talks held in 'positive climate,' government says

Negotiations between a Greek delegation headed by Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis and troika representatives in Paris are being held in a “positive climate,” a government spokesman has said.

“It's a positive climate. It was confirmed that the budget in the first seven months of the year is within target,” Sophia Voultepsi told Antenna TV on Wednesday.

“The Greek side has stressed the need for a tangible recognition of the sacrifices made by the Greek people,” she said. “The effort has been acknowledged by our partners,” she added.

On Tuesday, Hardouvelis told reporters that the Greek reform effort was “within the deadlines” set by the troika and emphasized that the key aim was to convince creditors of the country’s credibility.

“We want to show that the program is on target, both on the fiscal and the structural level,” he said. The focus of Tuesday’s talks was the budget – which Hardouvelis insisted was “absolutely on target” – while discussions on Wednesday are expected to broach an ongoing civil service overhaul and pension reform.

The Greek delegation to Paris comprises around 25 people but had originally been larger, according to sources who indicated that cutbacks had led to several advisers and assistants being left in Athens.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is keen to see what the talks with the troika yield ahead of his scheduled speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on Saturday, when he hopes to be able to offer Greeks a ray of hope – some tax breaks or other incentives.

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